2017 PAESTA Conference

June 17, 2017 - Penn State, University Park, PA

  • Location: The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center
  • Conference Registration Deadline:  June 1, 2017
  • Participants who wish to arrive on Friday evening can make hotel arrangements for Friday night only at the Penn Stater using group code PAES17A. The deadline for hotel registration is May 17th and participants are responsible for the cost of their hotel accommodations.
  • Click here to register (Registration is free for PAESTA members)

Conference Agenda

12:00PM to 1:00PM Lunch at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center
1:00PM to 1:30PM Bus transfer from the Penn Stater to the Eberly College of Science
1:30PM to 3:00PM Chris Palma's Astronomy Talk: "Searching for Planet 9"
3:00PM to 3:30PM Walk to the Joel N. Myers Weather Station
3:30PM to 5:00PM Bill Syrett: Talk and Tour of the Weather Station
5:00PM Bus transfer to the Penn State Hotel and Conference Center

Theme: Astronomy: "Searching for Planet 9"

Conference Theme/Keynote Speaker: Chris Palma, Senior Lecturer, Head of Undergraduate Programs in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Penn State's University Park campus

Bio: Chris is a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Undergraduate Programs in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Penn State's University Park campus. He is a co-Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation funded "Earth and Space Science Partnership" (ESSP) project and was one of the first officers in the PA Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA). He earned a BS with dual majors in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics from Penn State in 1994, and went on to earn a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 2001. Currently, Chris teaches introductory astronomy to non-science majors at Penn State, a specialized version of the course for pre-service elementary teachers, and an on-line version for in-service teachers in a Penn State World Campus Masters of Education in Earth Science degree program.

He led the creation of a new major at Penn State called "Planetary Science & Astronomy", and also teaches one of the capstone courses for students enrolled in this new undergraduate offering. Along with a colleague, he supervises and mentors all of the astronomy graduate student Teaching Assistants, many of whom teach their own introductory general education laboratory course for Penn State undergraduates. As part of the ESSP, Chris designed and offered several summer workshops in Solar System astronomy for PA science teachers, and contributed curriculum from the workshops to the PAESTA on-line classroom. He is one of the leaders of an educational research group studying how students in the middle grades (4 - 9) can best learn topics in Solar System astronomy.


Talk and Tour of the Joel N. Myers Weather Center

Host: Bill Syrett, Manager

Bio: Senior Lecturer in Meteorology, New Student Orientation (NSO Adviser), Irvin Hall (E&MS Special Living Option) Adviser, Campus Weather Service and PSU Storm Chase Club Adviser.

Bill was born in Bristol, CT and has been fascinated by weather that most people consider "bad" since he was 5 years old. He was pleased and surprised to find lots of other "weather weenies" when he came to Penn State in 1980. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Meteorology and was then hired by Penn State as a research assistant, again in meteorology. In 1995 he began his tenure as the manager of Penn State's University Park weather observatory (now the Joel N. Myers Weather Center). He teaches several meteorology courses and enjoys contact with his students, prospective students and all others with an interest in the weather. He's been a forecaster on Weather World and a principal with the Penn State Weather Camps since 2001 and an adviser for first-year students since 2008 and Irvin Hall since 2012.